Day 1166 – Costas Azahar / Daurada – 11 May 13

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Day 1166 – Costas Azahar / Daurada – 11 May 13

Primarily this blog is aimed at keeping our daughter in the UK, Chloe, abreast of our adventures in Europe. Additionally, we hope that other readers will find snippets of info regarding campsites, prices and foreign travel interesting or perhaps just informative.
For piccies see

Hi Clo, :birthday:

This edition starts with the unhappy news that Bill and Sue, the fellow travellers we met at Vilanova in 2010, and with whom we spent the winter of 10/11 at Benicassim and Cabopino, will be forced to give up the road due to illness. We know that they have a terrific family group back in the UK who will support them and we wish them both all the very best.

On a brighter note, we trained it (€5.20 rtn) to Alicante yesterday, (26th) and did a quick look-see. Actually, there is very little to see at all. It's clearly a working town with a small harbour and an ‘Old Town.’ We had a pleasant Menu del Dia, but would have been better advised going to Torrevieja.

We are now hanging about waiting to go to Javea on Monday and the only thing stopping us going today is that Javea is predicted to have 3 inches of rain tomorrow, so we’ll wait until it's properly dry before pitching up. We experienced the edge of the ‘mother of all storms’ (28th) with heavy rain and hail. But we were lucky, 30 kms away in Alicante they had hailstones the size of marbles and serious flooding.

Now, especially for Paul M:Doh:

Margaret Thatcher arrived at the gates of heaven.
St. Peter apologetically says, "Sorry we are not quite ready for you yet. We are sending you back to your old job for a few days."
In a puff of smoke she was back in Westminster.
Ten minutes later, Abu Qatada was on a plane to Jordan.

Absolutely bang on!! Cheers, Paul.

Anyhoo, it's been raining for nearly 3 days now and we are stuck in the 'van waiting to leave for Javea. (29th). Lots of Scrabble and watching TV, which is unusual for us, only because it's piped in free on the pitch.

One good bit of news is that the Clarets are safe for another season and Wolves are going down. Oh dear! In the final event we were only 7 points off the play-offs. If only we hadn’t conceded so many late goals. Too many points lost from winning positions. Hey-ho, next season is just around the corner!

It eventually stopped raining on Monday morning (29th). So we packed up and tried to vacate the pitch. No such luck. As we attempted to swivel the trailer with Smartie loaded, one of the wheels was stuck in the gravelly sand which constitutes the pitches at Marjal. The harder we pulled – the deeper it got. Even help from our Dutch neighbour was to no avail. In the end we had to dig out some sand and rammed in a plastic non-slip strip. That eventually did the trick and we got away 20 minutes late. An uneventful trip to Javea until we got to the turn off. SatNav lady played an absolute blinder – NOT! She gave one duff instruction after another and in the end we had to follow a Dutch 'van on the off chance they were heading to the same campsite. Luckily, they were and we arrived in the rain! Nice site with plenty of space and we chose an isolated pitch near the children’s playground – which may be a serious mistake as it's a 5 day Spanish holiday this week…eeek!

At least the sun is now out for the foreseeable future and our meeting on 12 May with Pat and Maria in Argeles should be dry. So we cycled to Playa de Arenal and were pleased to find a pleasant, if touristy area, with nice beach and plenty of upmarket bars and restaurants. Cycled back to the Javea Puerto for a very good Menu del Dia and then via Lidl to the campsite. Oh, what a full life we lead! And joy of joys – we were greeted by a Spanish family in a tent on the next pitch, 3 feet from our bedroom window – there are dozens of others freely available around the camp – I just hope they don’t snore! I do! ……………….He did!

Weather now good and BBQ will be out again. Cycled up to the Old Town of Xabia and it's nice. They’ve got a full programme of events for the religious holiday, including a procession and tapas evening. Their Thursday market was very big for such a relatively small town, so we got some excellent mussels for lunch. Now sunning ourselves. What is surprising is that the expected influx of Spanish vans has just not happened!

Interesting tradition going on in Javea. This morning at 7.30am, very loud fireworks started going off around the town and this lasted over 2 hours. Apparently, local folk have an unofficial competition to make the loudest noise! They try very hard and it was reported in the local paper that one woman sued the Town Hall for €2400 for smashing her china by loud noise vibration. We saw/heard a very loud firework display at lunchtime (3rd) which was apparently designed for max noise and not light effect.

Cycled into the Xabia port this evening (3rd) to look round the Craft Fair, then up to the Old Town for the procession. Got there early and nobody was around, so we had a couple of drinks and waited. By 7pm the church square was packed with ‘processioners’ all in their ‘Sunday Best’. Young girls in spectacular Spanish gowns waited for the Mass to finish in the church. Around 7.45, the local notables piled into the church and carried out the giant statue of the Virgin Mary.

This was followed by an even bigger, and probably much heavier, Jesus of Nazareth. It took 12 men, 4 steadiers, a step co-ordinator and loads of substitutes to manoeuvre the statue. The procession eventually started around 8.30 and snaked its way through the town via several churches and narrow streets, where the locals had hung large squares of silk from the windows in tribute. We scooted around the back alleys trying to intercept it at strategic points on the route. The band played excellent dirges and the whole spectacle was very impressive.

The whole issue seemed to be sponsored by the local Hermandad or ‘Brotherhood’ – a bit like the Masons. It was nice to see the whole town turn out to support the procession.

We set off home on the bikes around 9.30pm awaiting the firework display, scheduled for 10pm-ish. At 11pm it started and was spectacular. We had a great view from the campsite and wondered how the Spanish can afford such luxuries in such hard times. But they will always find a way when the Church is concerned. All in all, a good thing to have experienced.

Lazy day in the hot sun, a bit of shopping and then into Xabia Ol Town for a night of Tapas at the Mercat Municipale. €1.25 for a ticket which got you a small tapa or a drink. Crowded by 9pm and about a dozen stallholders showcasing their products with examples of their grub. Very tasty and great atmosphere. So for €20 we ate and drank our fill, including some cake at the end! Excellent night out rounded off when Shirl fell off her bike, again. She’s a real lightweight!!

So we stayed an extra day at Xabia to sleep off our hangovers! I’ll get a chance to colour Shirl’s hair…what a joke!

Actually, it turned out OK and Shirl can return to society.

Packed up and paid our bill at Javea/Xabia and set off for Alcossebre. 25 minutes to reach the A7 but then an uneventful trip on empty roads to Playa Tropicana – a site right on the beach, recommended by Jackie and Paul. It's very nice, with excellent facilities, 2 pools, Petanca pitches, nice beach, restaurant, shop and good sized pitches with shade. Can't complain at ACSI €16. The only down side is the high cost of Wi-Fi.

The weather is nice, but humid - high 20’s today so we cycled into Alcossebre, a pleasant little village on the coast. Actually, the campsite is a bit tropical, as they have several large parrots which squawk continuously through the afternoon and evening – one Myner Bird can say Hola in about 8 different voices! It's all rather laid back and very popular with the French, so we are just beaching it for a few days – and I managed to get sunburnt…keep forgetting that it's not winter sun anymore.

We’re adapting our schedule as we go, according to the wx. It's turned a bit grey here now (8th) so we might move on tomorrow. Argeles is looking showery next week and we’ve inserted a couple of days to look at the Millau Bridge. Bryan has bought a new ‘Whirr-Clunker’ which he has to pick up from Yorkshire and then return his 4x4 to Bristol next week, so we aren't certain if he’ll actually be at his 'van in France when we get there on 29th May.

We’ve also noticed that as you go further East and North towards France, barking dogs become more prevalent. At Cabo, there was only the infrequent domestic yap, but at every site since leaving, there have been night-time barking episodes – either from private off-site guard dogs or from local kennels. It often starts with one dog and the others join in and can continue unabated for over an hour. It's loud enough to awaken us and keep us awake. I suppose it's just an inconvenient fact of life in rural Spain but it can become very tiresome. However, I see no immediate solution, so it has to be endured. It's another good reason to stay at Cabopino.

Last day at Alcossebre – sardines for lunch…yum! It's been a pleasant break and look forward to Cambrils on Friday (10th). Rain is coming next week……..

Made it to Cambrils and Camping Llosa. It's a bit tired, the pool is closed and pitches have stupid tree branches across the middle at head height!!!! I’d move if I could be arsed. But it's on the beach and near town, so we’ll stick it out for 4 nights. There's a Tapas Run in town this week so that might cheer us up! And perhaps a visit to Tarragona.

On a closing note, regarding my initial paragraph, and although I baulk at quoting a well-used cliché, - you really don’t know what's around the corner and are well advised to enjoy the moment – especially at our age. In the last year, for one reason or another – either ill-health or domestic issues at home – 7 couples that we know well have had to prematurely cut short their wanderings. No doubt, our time will come soon enough, so, ‘touch wood,’ we plan to make the best of it whilst we can!

Our sincere best wishes to all; Carole and I hope to see you again very soon.

All for now,


M and D


PS: HAVE A GREAT BIRTHDAY – sorry we can't be there!


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